11 arrests as 700 EDL members descend on Bradford

ABOUT 700 members of the far-right English Defence League staged a controversial rally in Bradford today - the group’s first gathering since the departure of former leader Tommy Robinson.

EDL and rival demonstrators in Bradford

Police mounted a visible presence in the city and surrounding towns, with more than video vans and teams of police horses on the streets.

Police made 11 arrests for public order offences.

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At the same time, around 120 rival demonstrators staged peaceful “diversity” rallies.

EDL and rival demonstrators in Bradford

Police praised members of the public for showing restraint.

Chief Superintendent Simon Atkin of West Yorkshire Police said: “Yet again, Bradfordians have shown the level of community spirit which exists in our city and have not reacted to provocation.

“I am extremely proud of the response from local people, which has ensured today’s events passed peacefully and with the least disruption.”

He added: “People remained calm, supporting the police and our partners throughout. We are now working together to return the area back to normality.”

EDL and rival demonstrators in Bradford

The EDL came days after Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, departed, claiming the party had become too extreme.

Its website said the demonstration aimed to draw attention to issues including child sexual exploitation among the Muslim community.

Bradford MPs George Galloway and Gerry Sutcliffe had called on West Yorkshire police to “see sense and move to stop these scum polluting our streets”.